Sunday, February 17, 2008

Lazy Sunday With a Question

After a brief sojourn to Dayton to watch the Flyers beat Temple in an attempt to stop their once-promising season from circling the drain, it’s time for a Lazy Sunday:
Really, the only thing of note from the local fishwraps is that Terry Pluto reports that the Indians’ offer to C.C. Sabathia was 4-year, $79M extension (which would really be worth $90M over the course of the 5-year contract) that Sabathia’s agents feels is “worlds apart” from what they’re anticipating C.C. receiving on the open market, causing them to break off negotiations.
$90M guaranteed over 5 years is the basis for the negotiations breaking off for “lack of common ground”?
Yikes.
Essentially, what that means is that Sabathia’s people are probably sticking to their demand of 7 years of guaranteed money and won’t come off of that, while the Indians are likely doing the same at a limit of 5 years of guaranteed money. A “lack of common ground” means that neither is willing to even entertain a 6-year deal because…um…that would be a common ground between 5 and 7.

Elsewhere, it must have been “Write a Story About Masa Kobayashi Day” as Paul Hoynes and Sheldon Ocker both put forth their “best” effort.
Seriously, do these guys plan this out over a few cocktails?
“What are you going to write about?”
“I don’t know - what about you?”
“I think Kobayashi.”
“Yeah, I think I’ll do that too.”

I know that there’s not much happening this early in Spring Training and Kobayashi is an interesting participant in camp, but some originality and maybe some analysis would be appreciated (unless, of course you counted Hoynes’ predictions for the AL Central on...wait for it...February 16th). It makes me wonder what the point of these Lazy Sundays are as they simply illustrate the point that the “Sunday Notes” columns that I used to eagerly anticipate as a youngster have become nothing but rehashed stories and pointless quotes.

Week after week, I link these Sunday articles thinking that they’ll provide the best of what the Tribe beat writers and paid journalists have to offer. And week after week, I’m disappointed that so little of value is able to be gleaned from these sources.
Don’t get me started on their “mailbags”.

Maybe I’m going about this the wrong way. I know that intelligent, original thought exists about the Indians in a well-written format somewhere…it just doesn’t seem to be in the antiquated newspaper. While this site has never been too interactive by way of boards or a forum, I would like your opinion as to whether the current version of Lazy Sunday is enjoyable to you or if another theme could be devised for Sunday reading – like a “Letters to the DiaTriber” post that I’ll include the best comments from the week or ones sent to me on my e-mail, or…who knows, I’m open to suggestions. Of course, it could be that the links and my comments on what is printed every Sunday in this format is most enjoyable for you and maybe it’s just me that gets fed up when I read the same things that I had previously written about (at much greater length) from the same sources every Sunday.

As your humble liege, I’ll do whatever the consensus dictates.

21 comments:

s_bricker said...

For me, I enjoy your take and breakdown in general, sunday or otherwise. What the articles (should) do is simply provide a point of departure for you to do your thing. I NEVER click on the links to read those writers - they are, by and large, dreadful. What I do also enjoy is the regularity of it. I know that on Sunday ther'll be something new here for me to read. Where the subject matter comes from matters little.

As for a suggestion where. Let me think about that one.

Rockdawg said...

I would rather read the likes of Swyte, Bachtel, Tbone (even though I don't know who that is), Russo, and Cousineau then work my way through the columns of Shaw, Livingston, Ocker, and Hoynes anyday. Do you think Pluto ever looks around the newsroom and wonders "Why am I in the same building with these people?"

Hermano said...

I agree with bricker; I enjoy knowing that on Sunday there will be a new post to enjoy. I do click on the links sometimes; maybe about half the time or so.

I'm not sure how often you read other Tribe blogs or sites, but maybe you could start including some of the better written or thought provoking articles you come across during the week, as well. I read a few, and always enjoy finding new ones.

Whatever you decide to do with your Sunday format, thanks for being a consistently good read.

Brian said...

I agree, most of the newspaper writers really have little to contribute on a regular basis. Like Hermano said, I think expanding the content online to blogs, be it the Tribe or just interesting baseball talk in general might be a good experiment. It's always fun to find a good link that I may have missed earlier in the week.

Dan said...

Paul, you've already got the bar set pretty high for Tribe coverage compared to the local newspapers, (Terry Pluto excepted) in terms of depth of information and that "well-written format." The avid fan wants and deserves more than the newspapers give him. You're giving it to him. Don't ever stop.

I would support any kind of forum idea. I rarely wade into the ones at the newspaper sites, but I'm sure you could do better here.

I'm kind of surprised that the Tribe management has not embraced New Media more than they have, given the declining influence and systemic weaknesses of newspapers.

I was curious if you have either press credentials or any official contact with the ball club, in order to get some kind of player/coach access for a podcast or email interview type format.

There's clearly a journalistic void to be filled, and a market to be attracted. I guess it's a matter of how deep you want to jump in.

I appreciate what you're doing now.

- Mark C. said...

Hey, what's your Baseball Dream Team Lineup or Dream Pitching Rotation for the upcoming 2008 major league baseball season? Read mine and post your own. Also, if you haven't exchanged links with my baseball etc website, feel free to email me at markgerardcat@aol.com.

sptguy1969 said...

I have this blog, as well as others on the Indians, bookmarked and usually visit them at least a couple times a week. While I've read some things posted over the course of time that I've had issue with, I've not decided to post simply because I didn't feel it was worth my time.

But this last one was different... let me proceed by saying I have a little insight into the media and its various practices.

Paul, you say off the top that you know there's not much happening since it's early in spring training (hell, full squads haven't even reported yet) but yet you want some analysis. And then in the next sentence you rag on Hoynes for providing a pre-spring training AL Central prediction story...on Feb. 16. It may be just me, but I find that a little heavy handed on your part. Sure Hoynes' piece might have been weak, but hey, what do expect, since ... it's Feb. 15! Could it be that it's a little tough to "analyze" the battle for the fifth starter's spot since ... well, the competitors haven't thrown a meaningful pitch yet? I mean, like you said, it's early, so really, what is there to analyze. Let the games begin, for God's sake. For a team that did very little this offseason to its pitching staff or lineup, and who trumpeted the Kobayashi signing, it seems to me that was a natural early spring training story. There's plenty of time in the next month to talk about Jensen Lewis, Rafael Perez, Aaron Fultz, Joe Borowski, etc. When the full squad reports, you can bank on seeing a Jamey Carroll story in short order. Bank on it.

While I'm far from apologizing for the beat writers who cover the Indians. As a whole they're very below average...for my money the most entertaining is Jim Ingraham simply because I like his style. I know Andy Call gets some love, and Andy's a good writer and a nice guy, but he couldn't break a story if it was plate glass and he walked right into it. But, there's also the existence of a "pack mentality" when it comes to team coverage. This is especially true in spring training, where it seems like one player or issue is the topic du jour during February March. Not saying it's right, and certainly not saying it's original, but that's often how it is.

As to the poster who inquired as to the Indians' stance on new media, I can't really speak to that. But I do have to think that it would be very hard to get a credential if all you had was your own blog (not that there's anything wrong with that) simply because in short order they'd be credentialing every Joe Schmoe who could type, form a complete sentence and build their own Web site (and some who couldn't).

Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of good things about BLOGS! that I do like, such as their ability to condense a lot of information in a central location, through links and such. But -- and this is a point that I think a lot of people who are quick to bash the media miss -- where are most bloggers getting their information from? Well, if they're devoted to a single team, they're usually getting info from people who are tied into the team in some fashion. And since most bloggers (in fact I would say probably 99 percent of bloggers... I could be wrong) don't have a press credential, can't get locker room access, don't talk to Eric Wedge after each game and don't have Mark Shapiro, Chris Antonetti, Ross Atkins or various player agents on speed dial, chances are they get it from some media outlet. Whether that's the local newspaper or other outlets (espn.com, foxsports.com, etc) chances are that it's coming from someone with a newspaper background, who's cultivated sources and contacts through the years. When the Dan Haren to the Indians rumors were circulating in December, what did this site link to? I don't think it was other blogs. I mean, really, come and talk to me when a BLOG! breaks a hard news story.

Don't take this as a slam on your work. Your site is very good and it contains some nice information and opinions on the Indians. But a blog also has some inherent advantages over an "antiquated" newspaper, the big one being accountability. Last I looked, most bloggers didn't have editors checking their work, or monitoring their production, telling them what to write and how much to write.

James said...

I like it all. I look forward to your Sunday posts and insights. It's also nice to know that you'll link to all the local writers so that I don't have to check each individual site.

Dan said...

Lots of good points by sptguy, including the issues with credentialing bloggers and the limitations of early spring training material. But the fact remains there is an information void to be filled to satisfy the fan who wants more of everything, and the teams could do more to embrace New Media as a way to promote their product by stimulating intelligent dialogue.

Rockdawg said...

Did anyone catch the time on the Sptguy post? He makes some good points, but is this type of thing keeping hime up at night?

LBJ = MVP

Paul Cousineau said...

Can’t tell you how much I’m appreciating this insight and interaction as I’m still trying to flesh out what direction this Sunday piece goes (and I will continue doing one, regardless).

I think that sptguy’s points are well-taken and they bring up the huge, arching question at the heart of this thing – New Media vs. Old Media. From my perspective, you’d be surprised, but I rarely read what the likes of Ocker, Hoynes, etc. write except for when I link it on Sunday. Essentially, I’ve just found information sources that I deem to be better and more thorough – whether they be “New Media” like LetsGoTribe.com, or “Old Media” like Rosenthal or Gammons, or a combination of them like Anthony Castrovince on Indians.com.

I will take issue with the the Haren thing that sptguy touches on as, I feel, it was best reported by the likes of the national media and picked up by the local guys, who really didn’t offer any new insight if you followed the trail of how it was initially reported. Additionally, I know that the Hafner deal was first reported by TheClevelandFan.com, so the idea that "New Media" can't "break" a story is quickly being modified.

I don’t have any access to the Indians, don’t get a press pass (and am not sure I would ever want one), and my only contact with the Indians to date exists through TheClevelandFan.com’s relationship with SportsTime Ohio. I actually kind of like it that way, as I like to think that I write as a fan (though more than a little obsessed) and I’m not sure what can be gained by sitting in the Press Box or getting vanilla interviews from uninterested players.

I will disclose that I was forwarded the Media Sheets for the ALDS and the ALDS last year, which were amazing in their depth of information. The interesting corollary to those, however, is that the information provided to the media through those sheets (and likely put together by some Tribe Sports Information staffer) were what the PD, the ABJ, and the Rep went with the next day in their “Indians’ Insider” columns…in most cases, word for word. That was more than enlightening on how these beat writers received their information and how they approached their job. The spoon-fed pieces all get to them at the same time and quite reasonably explains why they all have such similar content from day to day. For me, that realization finally took down the “4th wall”, if you will, of sports writing as I realized that the things that are done here and other places (done the best at LGT.com and TCF.com) involve people compiling data and formulating opinions outside of the way that information was historically disseminated.

I certainly agree that the issue of where credible information comes from is a slippery slope in terms of viable, and trustworthy, sources as the blogosphere exists without any kind of editor, rules, or accountability. I like to think that what I do here and the blogs that I do enjoy have some sort of standard of not simply passing opinion or incendiary comments off as truth.

My frustration in reading the various forms of media (and I know it’s Spring Training) is that it just doesn’t ever seem to break ground with anything and gives such a cursory look at the team that it ultimately frustrates me. It’s sad that I end up getting more information from The Boston Globe’s Sunday column or even Phil Rogers’ Sunday piece on the Indians. I wish that the joy that I got out of opening the Sunday PD as an adolescent and a teenager held up today, but it just doesn’t. I’m not sure if that’s a reflection on them; on the way that information travels today, or just me.

Again, loving the dialogue…

s_bricker said...

Who comes here for breaking stories? I sure don’t. I always know the ‘news’ before I get here. I come here for Paul’s take, opinions, analysis and general talent for writing – in what’s mostly a succinct little package about all that ‘news’. Where he gets it from, matters little to me. Again, it’s a point of departure and nothing else. That fraternity can keep its ‘me first-ness’, closed mindedness, and lack of depth of content. and what does having a deadline have to do with anything. they never write all that terribly much and i don't need an editor or fact checker to tell me their stuff is full of mistakes on a constant basis.

Tim said...

ptc-

I just spent the whole day catching up on the blog. I love holidays like President's Day. I'll come in, but I ain't working!

Anyway. The site continues to impress. I love the comments almost as much as the blogs themselves.

Keep up the good work.

rick@waitingfornextyear said...

For the love of all that is good and decent in this world, DO NOT change your style or the thoughtful approach to your columns. There are sites that I go to for 'breaking' news, and sites that I read daily, who sometimes have an insight, but feel the need to post something regardless, just to post. Your site is a once a week click, or perhaps more if something big has broken. The reason is you don't feel compelled to throw up pointless material that everyone else has done. Your insight into the team is what I come here for. I would be disappointed if that stopped.

Cy Slapnicka said...

i'm sorry, but i DO expect meaningful and insightful information out of people that get paid to write about baseball from my hometown newspaper. sure its 2/15, but one can still write interesting articles about the indians. why do you think we are all here posting and reading? posts about the 5th starter being dependent on the 7,8, and 9 guys are interesting. so are comments such as "Do you think that the rumors, innuendo, and gossip that take place at EVERY other workplace somehow don’t pass through clubhouse doors?".

pack mentality, editors, etc are excuses. they've grown complacent and lack pride in and passion for their work. and their management is terrible for allowing it to happen. its frustrating when you are unable to consume good information or viewpoints about your hometown team. which is why we are all here. not only to we have a fearless leader who provides good insight but the conversations in the comments are enjoyable.

its not about the new/old media, its about content. and the local print media is devoid of that (excluding pluto). i guess i enjoy the lazy sunday as a form of piling on. but my favorite part about them is I know a post is coming and it is typically the most interesting news about the indians i'll read that day. And I also get reminded about Parnell and Samberg, which in turn reminds me of I Ran. Which is an excellent way to start a Sunday.

t-bone said...

I’ll keep it short and agree with the masses, PC. Keep on doing what you do, that’s why we come back.

As for the media sheets PC mentioned, here’s a page that shows every team’s game-day and/or series releases…

http://presspass.mlb.com/pp_teamselect.asp

In college I worked for my school’s sports information department, and upon graduating interned for an NFL team’s PR dept. Thus, I was surprised to hear from PC last October that he never knew these resources existed for the media. I guess I took it for granted since I was helping putting them together for a few years of my life.

These game-day releases are put out every game day and/or series, and indeed meant to aid the media in their presentation, whether it be TV, print, radio, but not meant to be relied upon for compiling stories. I’ll add they do indeed help greatly, as in college I also covered various sports for the school newspaper and did sports talk and announcing for the radio station. For hoops, they’ll put them together before each game, some halftime notes, then postgame notes with quotes. Football does the same, but issues a big on Tuesday of each week. But back to all my college activities and aspirations, wasn’t I such a superstar? Nowadays, I’m mediocre at best in two bowling leagues, doing Winking Lizard beer tours, and trying to master Guitar Hero 3. What happened to me?

Speaking of which, I’m late for bowling. PC, keep the Sundays as Lazy as you want them to be. We love it.

Tyler said...

Hey, man, I just come for the nicknames.

TONYC1950 said...

I'm a tribe fan some fifty years,and I've lived in New Jersey all my life,so getting any kind of Indians news was a blessing.I had the PD and the ABJ mailed to me.Thats right four day old stories.Ijoined a tribe news letter that went out of business after two months,do to lack of interest.When the internet came along I went nuts reading everything I could about the tribe.The point is I enjoy your work the best.Breaking a story first means nothing to me,understanding it is priceless.I'm not an educated man,but your love for the tribe and your gift for writting are outstanding and make my Sundays.Thank you for all your work and don't change,,,GOD BLESS>>>>GO TRIBE!

Voltaire said...

I'd like to echo the sentiments of the above poster.

"Breaking a story first means nothing to me,understanding it is priceless."

Whenever I hear about something big for the Tribe, I head here to figure out what it means for the team. Always.

Keep up the great work. You've got the best Tribe blog around.

Baltimoran said...

let's break out the popsicles...I agree with TonyC : for out of towners this blog let's us shoot the bull about the tribe without having to be subjected to "mistake on the lake" comments; i'd also rather read The Dia Tribe than the PD or ABJ, keep it up Pauly and that includes Lazy Sundays (i still don't know how you never slowed down or lost quality with the birth of the diapertribe, god bless your lovely bride)

rodells said...

Status quo, sir.

Although, mixing in some Q&A would not be a bad thing. When you read them in the PD, and then ask yourself why you do that every week, the only logical reason is to prove to yourself time and time again how bad Hoynes, Wright and Grossi are. Too often do they not even answer the question (or not give at least one good reason as to why they answered as such) and/or put themselves on some pedastal ripping the question's author. The only one that does a good job at this is Lesmerises.

But like you said, don't get me started......